How Can I Honor God in My Suffering?
The Point: Every part of life—including difficulties—is an opportunity to glorify God.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Since NBA superstar Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on January 26, he has been remembered in many ways. The LA Lakers, who Kobe played for during his basketball career, honored him at the beginning of their first home game after his death. Before the game started, singer-songwriter Usher sang “Amazing Grace,” cellist Ben Hong played “Hallelujah,” and a current Laker player, LeBron James, spoke. Fans who attended received a Kobe Bryant t-shirt. And two seats were left empty at courtside, in honor of Bryant and his daughter Gianna who also died in the crash. The names of the other people who died in the crash were scrolling on the digital banners that are displayed around the court.
Say: The NBA Lakers and fans alike have found many ways to honor the memory of Kobe Bryant. Call attention to Question #1 (When have you seen someone honored in a memorable way?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Use the following information to supplement Question #2
In early January a Nigerian pastor was kidnapped by the radical Islamic extremist group Boko Haram and then executed a few days later because he refused to renounce his faith in God. Lawan Andimi is the Nigerian pastor who was killed. Christian leaders and government officials had been pleading with the Boko Haram militants to release the pastor. His captors released a video of Pastor Andimi before he was killed. In it, Pastor Andimi spoke strong words of faith in God and courage despite his circumstances. “I have never been discouraged because of all conditions that one finds himself is in the hand of God,” he said. “I still believe God … is still alive and will make all arrangements. By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife and my children and all my colleagues. If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God.” Even as he faced death, Pastor Andimi said, “Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”
Say: Pastor Lawan Andimi glorified God, even while facing death at the hands of his captors. Call attention to Question #2 (When have you seen someone glorify God when afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, or struck down?) and call for volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
— Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible (Additional Option)
In advance, familiarize yourself with the basic science behind the waxing and waning of the moon. Bring pictures showing the different phases of the moon and display them to your group. Click here for a link to these images.
This idea is found in the teaching plans of the Young Adult Leader Guide.
- When was a time when you felt honored?
- What are some ways we tend to honor people in our culture?
- How do you respond to the familiar quote “Attitude is everything”?
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
- What are some ways we are tempted to respond to difficult times?
- What catches your attention in these verses? Why?
- Why does suffering offer a special opportunity to glorify God?
2 Corinthians 4:12-15
- Who do you know that sincerely praises God in the midst of difficulties?
- What was countercultural about Paul’s approach to suffering?
- If you cannot yet rejoice in a trial, what can you do?
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- What is your biggest take away from this 6-week study on suffering?
- As believers, how can we encourage each other to stand strong, especially in difficult times?
- How are Paul’s words in these verses an encouragement to you right now?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: When Life Gets Hard – session 1.
NOTE: Beginning March 1, the Bible Studies for Life videos will be replaced with podcasts. The podcasts are co-hosted by Chris Johnson and Lynn Pryor. The weekly 20-minute podcasts will be beneficial for both leader sand group members, with a closing 2-3 minute segment directed to the leader. The podcasts will be available through Ministry Grid, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Lifeway’s Digital Pass.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.